Sonoma County and northern California wine country lacked suitable facilities to attract large touring acts to the area. Conceptualized by the Green family, this $150 million state-of-the-art campus expansion helped solidify SSU and Sonoma County as an artist’s paradise. Public and private donations in addition to a state bond brought the concept to reality in 2014.
PCD bid on the new design-build project called the Green Music Center and was awarded a contract for a comprehensive audio system designed by Kirkegaard and Associates.
The facility was intended to become the “Tanglewood West” Performing Arts Center, referring to the famous Tanglewood facility outside of Boston, MA. The original intent was to provide an acoustic hall sound system that would have the complete infrastructure of a full-blown audio system, but only an enhancement for the concert hall.
The primary loudspeakers installed were high-quality suspended D&B Audiotechnik brand in a Left, Center, and Right array, with rear firing for the back of stage and Meyer MM4 cubes for the under-balcony areas.
The impressive lawn seating proposal incorporated huge vaults for subwoofers, spaced evenly on both sides of the lawn, and Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers on poles aimed at the audience on either side of the lawn area. These speakers were all driven off a DSP system that PCD aligned so that the acoustics were set up for the audience as if they were seated at the same distance from the stage from anywhere on the lawn, therefore recreating the same acoustic positioning as if you were seated inside the concert hall. The results were quite remarkable. There were also some EV full-range loudspeakers built into the balcony area in the rear of the concert hall to project to the lawn area.
There were several ancillary rooms with audio-video needs, like the Founders Room, Green Room, Prelude (restaurant and lounge area with patio), and other smaller meeting rooms equipped with sound and/or audio-video.
The facility quickly decided after opening that they would need more “horsepower” in the loudspeaker system, as the demand was higher for touring bands and artists than it was for the acoustic acts. They modified the system with the addition of L’Acoustics line arrays both inside the facility and later outside at the back of the concert hall to replace the EV speakers for the lawn area.
Weill Hall is now home to the Santa Rosa Symphony, Sonoma Bach, Sonoma State University Department of Music and numerous traveling artists.
Once the Green Music Center was completed, SSU called upon PCD to provide design solutions for the Schroeder Recital Hall adjacent to the Green Music Center. PCD designed a system intended for light-to-medium sound reinforcement using D&B Audiotechnik loudspeakers and a very large Digital Projection brand projector to display presentations and lectures in the hall for the college curriculum. Using Crestron control and switching, the system worked beautifully for the needs of the space.
In 2014, PCD was called upon to design a distributed sound system for the new Student Center, along with various AV needs for the Pub/Restaurant, Cooking Demonstration Kitchen, Dining Room, Private Dining, and several Conference Rooms, with some being outfitted with video conferencing or AV presentation capability. Finally, the third floor was outfitted with a distributed sound system capable of combining and separating rooms to outfit up to 5 independent rooms, one large grand ballroom, or any combination thereof.
The results of all installations were quite good, with even coverage of paging and zone allocation as well as exciting media with digital signage and menu boards. It is a fun facility and the latest audio video technology compliments it well.
Drew Altizer, Dan Stone, David Wakely